Development & Alumni Relations Office 


08 May 2018

President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins will deliver the Sixth Annual Harri Holkeri Lecture at Queen’s University Belfast, organised by the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice.

The ‘sold out’ public event on Tuesday 29 May (which is free to attend) will take place in the Great Hall at Queen’s from 11.30am-12.30pm.

Acting Director of the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice at Queen’s, Professor John Brewer said: “The Annual Harri Holkeri Lecture is one of the significant events in the calendar of the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute and there is no public figure more prominent this year to grace the Lecture than President Higgins.

“Coming in the year of the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Good Friday Agreement and at a time of political uncertainty in Europe, there is much to be said that honours the peacebuilding efforts of the late former Finnish Prime Minister and statesman, Harri Holkeri.

“President Higgins is a thoughtful and incisive speaker and we have much to learn from his lecture.”

The Harri Holkeri Lecture Series was established by Queen’s and the Embassy of Finland to recognise and celebrate the contribution to the Northern Ireland peace process of Finland and, in particular, of the late Harri Holkeri who was Finnish Prime Minister from 1987 until 1991.

A member of the Mitchell Committee from 1995 onwards, Harri Holkeri played an important role as co-chair of the peace talks along with former US Senator George Mitchell and retired Canadian General John de Chastelain. These talks eventually led to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, and for which Holkeri received an honorary knighthood from the Queen.

Harri Holkeri died on 11 August 2011 at the age of 74.

Former speakers have included George J. Mitchell, the former United States Senator and Majority House Leader; Nobel Peace laureate, President Martti Ahtisaari the tenth President of Finland, and a United Nations diplomat and mediator; and Northern Ireland's former First Minister Arlene Foster who delivered the fourth annual Lecture on the subject of Women, Leadership and Peace-building.

Holkeri’s aspiration to transform conflict and promote social justice in Northern Ireland and across the world is shared by the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice. One of the University’s Global Research Institutes (GRI), it is a flagship for interdisciplinary research in areas of major societal challenge.

The Institute brings together researchers from a wide range of disciplines to tackle some of the greatest global issues of our age and offers a range of courses, from an interdisciplinary Master’s programme to short courses, including International summer and winter schools.

Media inquiries to Zara McBrearty at Queen's Communications Office on telephone: +44 (0)28 9097 3259.

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